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Big Brothers, Big Sisters program surprises graduating senior with drive-by parade

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Updated: May. 15, 2020 at 11:18 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A graduating Charlottesville high school senior got a special surprise. Friends, family, and members of the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program participated in a drive-by parade to celebrate the accomplishment.

Since graduation celebrations are canceled this year due to COVID-19, members of the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program say they had to do something to celebrate the graduating senior, Shanaya Thorpe.

“We came up with this idea to surprise her - I’m just so thrilled," Big Sister Kelly Cox said.

Cox has been working with Thorpe since she was 10 years old. “I found that seeing her once a week was such a blessing that fitting her into a really busy schedule just wasn’t an issue after the first couple of weeks."

Now she's 18 and the first person to graduate high school in her family.

“I’m just glad she worked so hard and I’m just so happy for her,” Tyra Noel, Thrope’s mom, said.

Throughout the year’s Cox and Thorpe have developed a close relationship, which is what the mentoring program is all about.

“The point of Big Brothers, Big Sisters is to find an adult and says I think you’re incredible & I’m going to go along with you for the ride,” Athena Gould, Executive Director of Big Brothers, Big Sisters program.

Cox says more people should get involved in the big brothers, big sisters program to help others achieve their goals and have sweet moments like this to last a lifetime. “Anyone who kind of lives these busy, hectic lives & think we just don’t have time to do more, there’s always time to add in another relationship, there’s always time to share yourself with someone."

Thorpe is the only graduating senior in June, but the program has other seniors that will be graduating in December. The staff says they hope to have bigger celebrations then.